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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – JUNE 23, 2023

Jun 23, 2023

Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“The Court has become unethical, immoral, and out of control.”

Senator Ed Markey speaking at Thursday’s Just Majority event outside the Supreme Court.

“Voting rights protect all other rights, and today we fight on to protect and exercise the fundamental right to vote.”

Representative Lucy McBath on the ten year anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder, a landmark Supreme Court case that gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

“This is an example of how winning policy wouldn’t happen if we didn’t win elections.”

Conservation Minnesota Executive Director Paul Austin in a recent video spotlighting the incredible clean energy legislation that Minnesota Democrats were able to pass just 35 days into the legislative session after winning their first state trifecta since 2014.

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HIGHLIGHTS IN INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IMPLEMENTATION:

BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES ROUND 2 OF ‘INVESTING IN AMERICA’ TOUR: The Biden-Harris administration will hit the road next week and in the weeks following as part of their second installment of the ‘Investing in America’ tour to highlight how the administration’s affordable clean energy plan is driving a manufacturing and clean energy boom, lowering costs, and creating good-paying jobs. Learn more about the tour here.

IN NATIONAL NEWS: 

2023 CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL MEMO: This week, LCV released its Clean Energy for All (CEFA) memo, which outlines how the ‘Big Green Wave’ that swept the 2022 midterm elections has led to historic state clean energy progress in 2023. In 2022, 40% of the country lived in a place committed to 100% clean energy and following the 2022 electoral wins, two new states made 100% clean electricity commitments. Thanks to additional state action, three new states also made clean car commitments, and one more is working to reduce pollution from buildings. To read more about where states have made the most progress, click here.

LCV OPPOSES ATTEMPT TO BLOCK EPA’S FINAL RULE ON HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS: LCV President Gene Karpinski sent a letter this week to the Senate in opposition to the attempt to override President Biden’s veto of S.J. Res 11, which would have blocked crucial limits on health-harming pollution from heavy-duty trucks.

OUR TAKE:  LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “The transportation sector is the largest source of climate pollution and is a major threat to public health. Heavy-duty vehicles like long-haul trucks and diesel buses produce about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, and release dangerous air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (NOx). Pollution from heavy-duty vehicles harms everyone but is especially hazardous to low-wealth communities and communities of color who live closest to major highways, freight hubs, and high-traffic areas.” Read the full letter here.

NEW ADS CALL OUT NY REPS WHO VOTED FOR MORE POLLUTION AND LESS CLEAN ENERGY: This week LCV released new ads calling out New York Representatives Brandon Williams (NY-22), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), and Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04) who voted for the “Polluters Over People Act,” designated by anti-environment Republican leadership as H.R. 1. The ads come mere weeks after the entire state was blanketed in wildfire smoke caused by climate fueled Canadian wildfires, leading New York to have some of the worst air quality in the world. Republican’s “Polluters Over People Act” would have sped up the build out of destructive oil and gas infrastructure like pipelines, benefited polluters in the oil, gas, chemical, and mining sectors at the expense of working people and families, and more. Learn more about the ads here.

OUR TAKE: LCV Regional Campaigns Director Eva Estrada said, “These members voted against the best interests of their own constituents to keep the extreme MAGA members and big oil donors happy. New Yorkers understand how serious the climate crisis is and saw the consequences of inaction when the state was choked with climate fueled wildfire smoke for days. We need leaders who are ready to invest in solutions like clean energy, not those that are still standing with our biggest polluters.”

SENATE CONFIRMS JULIE RIKELMAN, A JUDGE WHO WILL PUT PEOPLE OVER PROFIT: This week, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Julie Rikelman to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “We are thrilled with Julie Rikelman’s confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Relentless attacks on our most fundamental rights, our environment, and our democracy underscore the importance of personally and professionally diverse judges who will work for the people over special interests, and Rikelman has a distinguished record of fighting for reproductive rights including the right to access abortion. In addition, her lived experience as a refugee who fled anti-Semetic persecution will add a crucial perspective to our judiciary. We urge the White House and Senate respectively to continue to swiftly nominate and confirm highly qualified judges with demonstrated commitments to the public interest in order to fill every federal judicial vacancy by the end of the 118th Congress.”

JUST MAJORITY BUS TOUR REACHES DC: On Thursday, the Just Majority bus tour, which has traveled across the country highlighting the threats to our democracy, environment, civil rights, and other critical issues posed by the Supreme Court’s partisan majority arrived in DC. Speakers, including LCV Senior Judiciary and Democracy Director Doug Lindner, spoke about how the MAGA justices on the Supreme Court are taking power from Congress, the president, and voters so they can use it to serve polluters, corporate interests, and far-right extremists.

COALITION RELEASES GUIDANCE ON TRANSMISSION PERMITTING: A coalition including LCV, EarthJustice, NRDC, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Sierra Club, and EDF, among others, released a document outlining how we can build the infrastructure we need to advance a clean energy future.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must swiftly finalize strong rules to implement its existing transmission siting and planning authority to help improve the grid and insure we can integrate clean energy, reduce prices, and boost resiliency in the face of more frequent, climate change-supercharged extreme storms and wildfires. Early engagement can assist clean energy projects coming online more quickly to deliver their cost-saving and pollution-reducing benefits to consumers, without undermining our longstanding environmental and community safeguards.”

LCV TESTIFIES IN FAVOR OF STRENGTHENING CARBON POLLUTION STANDARDS FOR FOSSIL FUEL FIRED POWER PLANTS: Last week, LCV Government Affairs Fellow Tori Velasquez testified in front of the EPA in favor of the newly proposed carbon pollution standards for fossil fuel fired power plants, which will help protect communities, particularly communities of color, from harmful pollution. Read a reflection on her experience and view a transcript of her testimony here.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

MAINE GOVERNOR IMPEDES OFFSHORE WIND PROGRESS: Maine passed two bills this week to increase offshore wind development and set standards for offshore wind ports. Both pieces of legislation are priorities of Maine Conservation Voters and have gained bipartisan support. Governor Janet Mills announced her intent to veto the bills today – despite initially submitting the ports legislation – due to the addition of strong labor provisions to support good-paying union jobs. Recently, many local papers have published editorials and opinions in support of the legislation, including the Bangor Daily News here and here, the Portland Press Herald here and here, and the Kennebec Journal.

NEW SOLAR POWER COMING TO OHIO: Last week, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved a 144 MW solar facility in Morrow County. The Ohio Environmental Council advocated for Blossom Solar and urged OPSB to factor climate change and community benefits in the project’s plans. This solar facility will bring good paying jobs and clean, affordable energy to Ohio’s communities.

CLIMATE ACTION ORGANIZERS IN NORTH CAROLINA BUILD SUPPORT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND FARM BILL INITIATIVES: This week, LCV’s Climate Action organizers in North Carolina headed to the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) along with the NAACP and the Sunrise Movement to advocate for environmental justice for all. The climate action teams and partners engaged the UNCC community in meaningful dialogue and gathered petition signatures to build support for the Environmental Justice for All and 2023 Farm Bill initiatives, both of which are critical to ensuring that all communities, particularly communities of color and rural communities, have access to a healthy environment.

WISCONSIN CONSERVATION VOTERS CALLS FOR STRONGER CLEAN AIR STANDARDS: In an op-ed for the Wisconsin Examiner today, Seth Hoffmeister, deputy director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters, details the impact of emissions from burning coal on the health of Wisconsin residents and wildlife and on the local economy. Hoffmeister calls on President Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regean to strengthen clean air standards across the country.

WISCONSIN CONSERVATION VOTERS TAKE: From the op-ed, Seth Hoffmeister writes, “We need the Biden Administration to do more to adequately protect us. In order to keep his promises to protect public health and the environment, President Biden and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan must finalize the strongest possible protections from mercury and other toxic air pollution. Our health, our children’s health, our communities and the state’s economic health can not wait.” 

DIRTY PIPELINE ORDERED OFF OF TRIBAL LAND: Last Friday, a federal judge in Wisconsin ordered a shut down of a section of the Line 5 oil pipeline that crosses tribal land. Enbridge Inc., the company behind Line 5, has three years to close down the pipeline segment and is required to pay more than $5 million to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians for trespassing on their land. Line 5 carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and liquid natural gas daily over 645 miles and threatens the largest source of freshwater on earth, the Great Lakes.

COMING UP:

ALL OF JUNE: Pride Month

ALL OF JUNE: Immigrant Heritage Month

JUNE 25: Route Zero Relay (Baltimore) – event will celebrate the federal investments in the drive to our zero emissions transportation future

JUNE 27-28: Route Zero Relay (D.C.) –  event at EPA Headquarters to deliver tens of thousands of comments in support of strong cars and trucks standards to help drive us to a zero emissions transportation future